The world woke up to some wild movie news Friday morning: Intoxicating reports that Leonardo DiCaprio is being sought for a major role in the Warner Bros. D.C. Comics empire as The Joker.
The Internet lit up as movie trade publication The Hollywood Reporter claimed the studio was courting DiCaprio for the ultimate villain role.
According to THR, Warner Bros will make an ambitious attempt to involve Martin Scorsese as a producer on the just announced Joker origin film, partially to “lure his longtime collaborator (DiCaprio) into the world of comic book franchises” and the Joker role.
Hangover director Todd Phillips is writing and could direct this new Joker story.
Neither Warner Bros nor DiCaprio’s rep commented on the report. But even THR pulled back on the possibility of DiCaprioplaying the Crown Prince of Crime.
“There’s no offer for DiCaprio,” the article states, adding, “The chances of landing DiCaprio could be slim to none. But the attempt in itself sends a signal to talent that Warners wants to hire serious filmmakers to make serious films.”
The Joker role has pulled in the highest level of talent, with Oscar-winner Jared Leto in Suicide Squad and the inevitable, still-to-be-announced sequel. Leto would also play The Joker in a separate movie focusing on his twisted love story with fellow villain Harley Quinn (featuring This Is Us directors/exec producers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who wrote and directed the 2011 romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love).
Jack Nicholson put on the Joker’s garish smile in 1989’s Batman, while Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his Joker role in The Dark Knight.
Erik Davis, managing editor of the movie ticket site Fandango.com says the DiCaprio casting news is says “probably unrealistic dream casting.”
What the Warner Bros effort shows, says Davis, is that they are seeking risky creative and artistic visions in popular films, gambles which have paid off in epics such as Mad Max: Fury Road. (Next up is Blade Runner 2049.)
“So it’s hard to roll your eyes at the idea of a star like Leonardo DiCaprio in the role,” Davis adds. “Look at what Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger did with it. You can’t write off…